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Skidmore or Fordham Theatre

crossroadsmomcrossroadsmom 25 replies7 threads Junior Member
edited May 2008 in Theater/Drama Majors
My daughter has been accepted at Fordham LC and Skidmore; wait listed at Emory and Tufts. Deciding between Fordham LC and Skidmore presents these contrasts...Skidmore affirming community and she could major in the theatre program...Fordham...not accepted in the performance tract...can minor in theatre and reaudition in the spring of her freshman year or choose to wait and do it in the spring of her sophomore year...competition will be stiff...usually take 1 or 2 students.....if selects Fordham would major in English and minor in theatre, flipping this if she is able to get in performance tract, at Skidmore she would major in theatre and minor or double major in English...loves New York City...not wild about Saratoga Springs or the amount of snow she would have to deal with....loves Skidmore's programing as well as Fordham's...

anyone know how theatre minors are treated at Fordham...are they valued and included...she loved the warmth and respect between the theatre professors and their students...is this true in other disciplines?

community seemed easier to happen at Skidmore...friendly at Fordham but community not as readily available

anyone have any other thoughts about Fordham...or Skidmore
edited May 2008
31 replies
Post edited by crossroadsmom on
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Replies to: Skidmore or Fordham Theatre

  • DramaQueen0413DramaQueen0413 13 replies0 threads New Member
    its funnny that I caught your message when I have so much to say! I am currently a Theatre Minor at FCLC....and all I have to say is that the Theatre Dept here at Fordham isnt what most think it is. It is EXTREMELY competitve...we only have 12 performance majors this year....and getting into shows themselves here is even more competitive. I had no oppurtunity to perform at all this year and Fordham doesn't really have any theatrical space other than our auditorium. I have felt a stigma by being a minor but if you get involved with the theatre here you will notice that everyone who is a major is really nice and very talented. I am looking to transfer because Fordham the community I need to fully progress as a student and an artist. I was actually looking into Skidmore!!! However, the location of FCLC is amazing. But that being so, a school should be the source of experience for its students, not just the city itself.

    If you have any more questions feel free to ask
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  • crossroadsmomcrossroadsmom 25 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Thanks so much for your quick reply. When my d gets home I will show her your post. We saw productions at BU, Fordham and Skidmore and found Skidmore's was the best of the three musically and dramatically....so give Skidmore a look...we sat in on a theatre company meeting and everyone seemed very involved, supportive and yet very honest as they gave feedback about a student productionthat just had finished its run...wow only 12 performance majors....what year are you? I agree about the school being a source of experience not just the city...my d says she would like to go to Skidmore in NYC!
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  • jbincajbinca 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Drama Queen

    That is very valuable insight and something everyone should know if considering that program. I'm not convinced a college program needs to mirror the pro world to THAT extent, though it is indeed that competitive out there. However training is training, and there should be opportunities, considering the time and $ spent, for a young actor to play some meaty roles in order to develop properly so they can compete when the time comes.
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  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose 3973 replies117 threads Senior Member
    Is it really true that there are only 12 kids in every level (freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior) in the performance track at Fordham? My D and two of her classmates were accepted there for acting/performance, but if what DramaQueen says is accurate (and I am sure it is, but perhaps I am mis interpreting) that means the three of them, if they came to Fordham, would comprise 1/4 of the entire freshmen performance class. Is that correct? (For the record, none of the three have chosen to go to Fordham. Two are going to NYU and one is going to DePaul.)
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  • crossroadsmomcrossroadsmom 25 replies7 threads Junior Member
    jbinca, I too wonder about a college program that mirrors the pro world to that extent as well...I wonder what gems are overlooked because they need to be encouraged and developed. I appreciate Drama Queens reflections since I wondered how theatre minors fared in a competitive program.
    Drama Queen are htere only 12 kids in every level? Seems I remember that being said at auditons but I may be confused.
    NotMamaRose, why did your D and her classmates choose not to go to Fordham?
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  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose 3973 replies117 threads Senior Member
    Re: Fordham's drama program mirroring the real world because getting into mainstage shows is competitive, well, I think it works that way in almost every respected performance/acting program at the college level. In fact, at many schools (Rutgers Mason Gross School comes to mind as an example), ONLY the kids accepted by audition into the BFA program are even permitted to AUDITION for the mainstage shows. The kids who are studying in the BA in Theatre Arts track cannot audition for those particular shows. (Of course, most of these schools also have a bunch of student-directed shows or shows staged by student groups, and anyone can audition for those.) So I honestly don't see Fordham as unusual in that regard. That's how it works in most serious programs.
    As to why my D and her friends decided to go elsewhere, well, I would say it's mainly because each of them decided they preferred more intense BFA programs to Fordham's BA program, as good as it is. My D, who does both musical theater and acting, decided to attend NYU's Tisch/CAP21 program and her buddy will be in the NYU/Tisch Atlantic Acting Studio. The other girl visited all the programs she got into (as did my D and her other NYU-to-be friend) and fell in love with DePaul. That said, all three very much liked the Fordham program or else they would not have auditioned at all.
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  • crossroadsmomcrossroadsmom 25 replies7 threads Junior Member
    thanks so much for the info...will share with my D
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  • jbincajbinca 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    crossroads

    My sense from DramaQueen's post is that it's competitive for the drama majors themsleves, not just the one's minoring, hence my comments. I trained at a school that did NOT audition for the plays, roles were assigned according to what a student needed to be working at-and everyone played large roles at least once. Having that responsibility and challenge is an important part of the training. I also don't quite get auditioning when there are only a few of you to begin with, unless an outside director is brought in each kid's work is well known to the faculty by the time they're casting a play.
    I'm very much in favor of the U of M/Guthrie program where roles are assigned, it shows a dedication to training the actor fully, which I think is the school's #1 job, not pyschologically training them for the business.
    BTW my D also got into Fordham, several years ago , as a theatre minor and it was indicated at that time that many started that way and with attrition it was not unusualy for the minors to fill spaces that opened up after freshman year. But it was run by a different person then-and she wound up at Tisch.
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  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose 3973 replies117 threads Senior Member
    jbinca, I agree completely with what you say about the benefits of doing things Minnesota/Guthrie's way. My D's high school (an urban arts high school with admission by audition only) does it that way: once a kid has gotten into the school by audition, all roles are assigned according to what the teachers think the kids can handle/what they need to work on. (Seems to be a happy medium between casting by type and skill and challenge casting.) It seems a very sane approach that cuts down on the internal competition, though (of course) there is always mild grumbling about who got what and why. In general, though, the kids "get it" and understand.
    jbinca, did your D end up at Tisch or did the person who ran the Fordham program end up at Tisch? Wasn't clear on that.
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  • jbincajbinca 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    NMR

    Oh, sorry,, my D is the one who wound up-unhappily-at Tisch. Also got into Purchase and in retrospect that might have been best...but who knows, all experiences, good and bad, are grist for the mill for an actor.
    I don't know where the former head of the program at Fordham went to, but he did not attend all auditions and the audition itself is different under this new person, as Ive coached a girl who auditioned there this year, so I got a report.
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  • crossroadsmomcrossroadsmom 25 replies7 threads Junior Member
    DQ, NMR and jbinca....many thanks for all your information and insights...my D is close to deciding...Skidmore is where she is leaning because of the community she felt within the theatre company which is comprised of theatre minors and majors the quality of the show we saw and her awareness of needing a supportive community this freshman year rather than a highly competitive one....when I asked her gut feeling...her response was interesting... she felt when in NY that Fordham was for her and not Skidmore but when she got home felt more that Skidmore was for her...if Skidmore turns out to not be the right fit she knows transfering is a viable option...tomorrow is D day! Any thoughts most welcomed....

    also jbinca...would be interested in your thoughts about the audition process at Fordham...no interview at this one...different than at my D's other auditions...also saw at her NYU audition a bit of tension between some of the faculty there...sort of sticks out with me since the other schools' faculty seemed to have a warmth with each other and the students...
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  • soozievtsoozievt ! 31650 replies378 threads Senior Member
    Crossroadsmom,
    The one thing that pops out at me about the two options your D has.....IF she really wants to do theater......is that at Fordham, she did not get into the theater performance program and so it is not the same choice as if she was choosing between Fordham and Skidmore for theater. In my view, for a kid who was hoping to major in theater, I would be hesitant to go to a school that had an audition based major/program that I was not admitted to but to attend the school for theater anyway. While not that familiar with Fordham admittedly, I would say this about any school where there was an audition based program and a student attended for theater outside of being in the program. I feel the student who is in the non-audition major or in this case, I guess it is a minor, will be second fiddle to the main theater degree program at the school. In such a scenario, your D has the option to attend a school, Skidmore, where she would be in the theater program where that is the ONLY theater program and the one that has the focus of theater at the school. Skidmore, in fact, has an excellent theater program that is very well regarded. While I realize the locations differ and location does matter, it should be a secondary aspect to choosing a college. If your D REALLY wants to major in theater, on that one thing alone, I would have chosen Skidmore (but it is really about her opinion, of course, and not mine). I'm pretty familiar with Skidmore. I know kids who go. My husband grew up in Saratoga Springs and I go there several times per year. My in laws take classes every semester at Skidmore and my hubby did while in high school. My in laws have seen countless productions at Skidmore. I think Fordham would be great too but I don't think you are comparing apples to apples when in one option your D can be in the MAIN theater program and in the other, she will not be. lt would be more apples to apples had she been considering the BA by audition program at Fordham vs. Skidmore. Now, if majoring in theater is not that important to her, Fordham may be OK. Also, knowing that your D was interested in Emory and Tufts, makes me think that Skidmore may fit her better than Fordham (but I don't really know your D). I am a Tufts alum though. I realize Fordham has NYC but the other schools were not in NYC either, albeit they are in cities. Saratoga can be a fun place for a college kid and it is close to a bigger city, Albany. And it is not far fetched to go into NYC for the day or weekend since it is 3 hours away. I think your D should go with her gut....as well as compare the very different options she'd have at either school and they are truly different since at one school she can be IN the main theater program and at the other, she cannot (at least for now).
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  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose 3973 replies117 threads Senior Member
    crossroadsmom, I am interested that your D detected tension at her NYU audition and am sorry to hear that. My D and a number of her friends all reported that their auditions at NYU were among the most pleasant they had, as each and every student was interviewed. Even the students who did not get in (and two of the four kids from her school who auditioned were not offered places in the Class of 2012) came out feeling that the auditor had taken a very personal interest in them. In fact, I daresay that the audition was so pleasant that these kids were kind of surprised that they didn't get in! :)
    Also, in regards to your D and Fordham versus Skidmore. If this were my own kid and she was determined to be a theater major, I think I would have to strongly suggest she choose Skidmore, for the simple reason that she would get to major in theater there without having to compete with kids who did get into the by-audition program. I would fear (justified or not) that my daughter would feel like a secondclass theater citizen (if that makes sense) at Fordham. In the end, though, only your D can decide. She cannot lose either way: good choices to have. Good luck!
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30787 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Your daughter has probably already made her decision, crossroadsmom, but I'll air my thoughts for those who are interested in another take on the situation.

    I am usually one of the "bird in hand" school. If your daughter wants to be fully in theatre, that's where she should go. My son who wanted MT, was accepted to a number of theatre programs at some highly desirable schools. He decided he wanted to jump right into a curriculum and not wait around another year to see if he got in or not. It is not within your control as to whether you will be accepted the next year. If your daughter really likes Fordham, she can reaudition as a transfer the following year as she gets the training and opportunities she wants at Skidmore. Sitting around watching what she wants at Fordham does not sound very fulfilling to me. I know that at my son's school, a number of kids are NOT accepted to the program who are at the school already. That is particularly hurtful for those kids who are turned down and then pretty much stuck at the school for still another year not in the program. A lot of time, the programs want "fresh blood" which they get from freshmen and transfers, not someone who is already there that they have already, though not fully in the program. There was a situation a few years ago where a young lady was actually invited to join the program for a few needed things, and still was rejected from the program! Yes, it can and does happen. You don't need that kind of hurt when there are enough in this field.
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  • crossroadsmomcrossroadsmom 25 replies7 threads Junior Member
    sooievt,NMR cptofthehouseand DQ...thanks for your thoughtful replies. You all touch on the issues we have been pondering these last few weeks. I have just talked to my D by phone at her break, sharing all your comments. It was very helpful to realize she wasn't comparing apples and apples. This helped her see that her gut connection to Fordham was to the theatre program, to the kids that ushered her around to the audition rooms, and to her sense of the exchange between teachers and students...may also be true in the other areas but her love is with the theatre. She knows the acting industry is brutal...has experienced that on a high school level (even though she has competed well and won lead and supporting roles in musicals and dramas) and in hearing no to the schools she auditioned for...she told me she is young and wants to develop her acting and writing in a less competive environment. She is aware that there is competition for roles at Skidmore too but feels she will be at least on a level playing field. She appreciated the comment about transfering with an audition places her once again on a level field rather than hoping and waiting while at a school that she isn't in their theatre program.
    sooievt, nice pick up on her school selection. As much as she loves NYC she looked at schools that fit her sense of her self. She will give Tufts careful consideration should she be offered a spot after May 1.
    NMR, it was me that picked up on the teacher tensions at NYU. D was so focused on preparing for her audition, I don't believe she saw or heard much until it was over. She had the Experimental theatre teacher and the new admissions director sitting in on her audition ( director was a silent voice in the process since he was new...or so we were told). She didn't feel a good connection with the experimental theatre director but felt a good connection with the admissions director. The E.director made more statements or evaluations rather than asking questions...for example...he stated that NYU was the only musical theatre she had applied to...she tried to answer but he moved on quickly to wondering why she hadn't gone to Spain since she had 5 years in Spanish...she went to Rome with her Ancient History class. She tried to find a thread to open a dialogue but struggled with this. She wondered if this is an area in auditioning that she needs to work on developing. She also knew she was competing in all her auditions for a small number of spots with a lot of talented kids. Being around the kids at all the schools she auditioned for affirmed her sense of belonging with this group of artists. She found them fun and supportive as they waited to audition. As an aside, she found th auditions at BU to be the most laid back. I don't know how the faculty sorts through all the auditions...so many talented kids and so few spots. However, good experience for D and a taste of what is to come in the real world.
    My role throughout this process has been to support this thoughtful child of mine's good instincts and thinking and to provide her with opportunities to visit the schools and to gather information for her from as many people I could. I appreciated her struggle since I felt the same split as she as we visited and talked with students and teachers. I appreciate so much all of you taking time to make such thoughtful responses. It has helped us both see the larger picture. Will post her decision when she makes it!
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  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose 3973 replies117 threads Senior Member
    crossroadsmom, your daughter sounds absolutely wonderful: smart, sensitive, aware and talented. I feel sure that she is going to do well and get the training she wants and needs wherever she goes! I *am* sorry to hear about her rather odd NYU interview/audition; that *does* sound weird and more than a little disconcerting! My D auditioned for NYU (CAP21) at Chelsea Studios and though there were several auditors there, she performed her songs and monologues for one individual who could not have been warmer or nicer. Between her songs and monologues and their little interview, she must have been in there for more than 15 minutes, which surprised me. But it is definitely true that different kids have very different experiences at various college auditions. (For instance, we heard so many times that the auditors for Ithaca College were often very cold and aloof, so that is what my D was expecting, yet that's not what she experienced at all! Just goes to show you, you can never predict how things will go ...)
    In any case, please do let us know what your daughter decides. Her choices are all top notch. Best wishes!
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  • crossroadsmomcrossroadsmom 25 replies7 threads Junior Member
    NotMamaRose, my daughter will beam when she sees this last post, as I am! Thank you for your kind words. I think you are right about the auditions...we had heard that Fordham was not a pleasant experience in auditioning and yet D felt comfortable there as she did at BU. BU was probably her favorite...2 people watched her audition...she connected with both...and had a great interview dialogue. Who knows with NYU...new admissions director...very nice but when you introduce a new person into the mix sometimes people can act differently...all in all gave D areas to work on...glad to hear that was not the experience for all...we had heard good things about the program...will let you know her decision...best wishes for your daughter in her path and you too!
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  • jbincajbinca 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Crossroads mom

    My student this year had a great experience at Fordham, the dept. head only was in the room, so he must have much confidence in his judgement. She was put at ease and treated very respectfully. The reverse was true several years ago when my D auditioned, in and out in a couple of minutes, no talk no interest in her, one never looked up while she performed. Then it was two women who are both there still but apparently no longer in charge of auditions.
    My D was treated extremely well at NYU auditions also, lovely people, different dept. head now. However I don't think she ever again had interaction with those that ran the auditions while attending NYU.
    Very good point above that your D isn't really comparing apples to apples. And one can always re-audition, having that plan makes it easier to live with one's decision I think.
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  • crossroadsmomcrossroadsmom 25 replies7 threads Junior Member
    jbinca

    My D loved her auditioning experience at Fordham. She liked the experience and feel of the teachers and students too. The apples to apples comment was so helpful to her to truly see what she was comparing. I also think hearing and seeing all of your posts has helped her put in prespective her "no's" from the audition based colleges. I agree the reauditioning plan is helping her decide especially with the knowledge that just as her voice has matured and developed so has her acting and both will continue to do so! Sure helps to process all these feelings and thoughts in a helpful community.
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  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose 3973 replies117 threads Senior Member
    Yes, though no one likes to go into a college thinking "I can always transfer if it doesn't work out" I do think it is important for 17- and 18-year-olds to realize that the decisions they make now don't have to be carved in stone. Things change, and so do people and their needs.
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